BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rummy

Good news, people...

Retired officers to criticize Rumsfeld


Thank God: Someone has some balls:
WASHINGTON - Retired military officers on Monday are expected to bluntly accused Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld of bungling the war in Iraq, saying U.S. troops were sent to fight without the best equipment and that critical facts were hidden from the public.

"I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq," retired Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste is expected to say based on remarks prepared for a forum conducted by Senate Democrats.

A second military leader, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, will assess Rumsfeld as "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically ...."

"Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinarily bad decision-making," his statement prepared for the policy forum read.
Ya think?

Not unrelated...

"...the Iraq war has invigorated Islamic radicalism and worsened the global terrorist threat."

You get what you pay for.

More later...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Surprised?

One thing to REMEMBER today.

Conservative websites claim Rove has been promising GOP insiders an 'October surprise'


Surprised?
According to two conservative websites, White House political strategist Karl Rove has been promising GOP insiders that there will be an "October surprise" before the midterm elections.

"In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an 'October surprise' to help win the November congressional elections," reports Ronald Kessler for Newsmax.

"President Bush's political strategist is also saying that the final two weeks before the elections will see a blitz of advertising, and the Republican National Committee is deploying an army of volunteers to key locations to help the grass-roots effort and monitor the election," the article continues. "The RNC is offering to fly in volunteers and cover their expenses."
Any guesses?

More later...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Your Homework

People...

If you haven't seen it, ya need to rent (or buy) "Why We Fight," Eugene Jarecki's brilliant doc on the military, industrial, CONGRESSIONAL institution.

It's chilling, and seeks to answer (Mick's) simple question (to the crowd at Altamont): Why are we fighting?

After watching the film, I'm sure you'll agree that freedom is just another word for HalliburtonExxonBechtelTitanRaytheonBP, et al.

The key excerpt from Ike's speech (which helps to frame the film):
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment.

We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex.

The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
The man was way ahead of his time.

However, they heard his message...and took over the councils of government.

More later...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Devil

Yo.

At U.N., Chavez calls Bush 'the devil'

Outstanding.

He really wants an invasion, doesn't he?

Here we go:
UNITED NATIONS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took his verbal battle with the United States to the floor of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, calling President Bush "the devil."
I thought the Devil was doing a movie with Jane Fonda?
"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said, referring to Bush's address Tuesday. "He came here talking as if he were the owner of the world."

The leftist leader, who has joined Iran in opposing U.S. influence, accused Washington of "domination, exploitation and pillage of peoples of the world."

"We appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our head," he said.
I appeal to the people of the United States to push the yahoos out of office this November.

More later...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Yesterday's Papers

Here's part of the WaPo's article on crony-ism in post-invasion E-raq.

Yesterday's papers - still relevant today. Don't let the story slip down the rabbit hole:
After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers.

But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction.

What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade.
Got that?
Many of those chosen by O'Beirne's office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience.

A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.
Iraq! A Good Gig if You Can Get It!

More later...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Think and Do Pages

People...

From the "Think & Do" pages of USA Today...

Some new cities outsource city hall

Huh?
Newly formed cities are giving the keys to city hall to private companies that say they can run a government better than bureaucrats.

Mayors in "contract cities" say they get better services for less money; more flexibility, because private employees can be hired and fired more easily than workers under civil service rules; and lower debt, because they can own fewer buildings and less equipment.
Ah, life in Bushworld.
Sandy Springs, a new Atlanta suburb, hired CH2M Hill to staff all of its departments except police and fire for about $30 million a year. The city of almost 100,000 has only four employees besides police officers and firefighters.

"We wanted to get the most efficient possible use of our tax dollars," Mayor Eva Galambos says.

Also using the model:

• Weston, Fla., contracts with the firm Severn Trent for administrative services and with Broward County for public safety. Weston employs only three people.

• Centennial, Colo., has contractors and about 30 employees.

Cities for years have hired firms to handle trash hauling and roadwork. Only recently have some outsourced all of city hall.

Stephen Goldsmith, who privatized some services in Indianapolis when he was mayor in the 1990s, says the contract city model makes sense for a small, new city.

"You're not going to see a Philadelphia turn around and do this," he says.
God, I hope not. That would be a DE-saster.

I wouldn't pay a monthly fee just to walk through Rittenhouse Square.

More later...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Borat

Take a time out from Bushworld: Check out the Borat trailer.

"This is where I lives."

More later...

"Wa wa wee wa!"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Get Ready to Run

People...

Air Force chief: Test weapons on testy U.S. mobs


NOT an Onion piece:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

The object is basically public relations.
Huh?
Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne.

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."

The Air Force has paid for research into nonlethal weapons, but he said the service is unlikely to spend more money on development until injury problems are reviewed by medical experts and resolved.
Gee. Thanks.
On another subject, Wynne said he expects to choose a new contractor for the next generation aerial refueling tankers by next summer.

He said a draft request for bids will be put out next month, and there are two qualified bidders: the Boeing Co. and a team of Northrop Grumman Corp. and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., the majority owner of European jet maker Airbus SAS.

The contract is expected to be worth at least $20 billion (€15.75 billion).
ANOTHER good gig. Damn.

Some ideas for the powers at be. You know, so they can test the "weapons."

1. A Promise Keepers rally
2. A Dittohead Convention
3. The crowd at a Toby Keith show

I realize that those recs are "silly," and look forward to getting shot on the corner of Sunset & La Brea...during an anti-war rally.

More later...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fool Me Once

People...

Average gas price falls 11 cents a gallon in a week


Heavy summer driving period over + November elections + GOP plan to stay in control = $2.91 on the corner of Riverside and Glendale.

And cheaper gas everywhere else:
Gasoline prices continue to tumble, almost free-falling toward levels not seen in five months.

The nationwide average for regular was $2.618 a gallon, the Energy Information Administration reported Monday. That was 10.9 cents lower than a week earlier.

"The reason prices are going down so far so fast is that they shouldn't have been that high in the first place. Two reasons they were: fear and speculation," says Mike O'Connor, president of the Virginia Petroleum, Convenience and Grocery Association. It represents gasoline distributors who operate about 4,000 stations.

O'Connor says $2 gasoline "is more likely than unlikely" if the Gulf of Mexico isn't hit by hurricanes and if there isn't a flare-up of tensions in oil-producing regions.
Whatever.

You and I are in the wrong business.

More later...

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11

9/11.

No snarky comments for obvious reasons.

However...if you get the chance check out
CNN's Pipeline - with their original coverage of the event.

'Til midnight.

More later...

Friday, September 08, 2006

THE ONLY THING YOU HAVE TO DO TODAY!

People...

One word: Enjoy!

(You can't write this stuff. It's virtually impossible.)

More tomorrow...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mo' Money!

On script today - time for one post:

Did the Army favor Raytheon in anti-RPG bid?


No, really?
WASHINGTON - Earlier this year, the U.S. Army awarded one of its favored defense contractors, Raytheon, a $70 million contract to develop a new system to combat rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which have killed nearly 40 Americans in Afghanistan and more than 130 in Iraq.

The Army insists that Raytheon won the contract fair and square based on its “systems engineering expertise and the discipline which they used in analyzing requirements, threats and potential solutions.”

But an NBC News investigation of the contract selection process reveals that at almost every turn, Raytheon was given a significant competitive advantage over other defense contractors, including an Israeli firm whose system was extensively tested and found to be highly effective.
Read the whole piece...

Defense Contracting: A Good Gig If You Can Get It!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

SHOW ME THE MONEY

Very simple post today, kiddos.

Back in '96, our annual defense budget was just a smidge below 300 BILLION DOLLARS.

Today?

It's been DOUBLED. (Check out the simple chart via the BBC.)

Once again, I remind you, dear reader...you and I are in the wrong business.

"Thar's gold in them thar hills!" (Capitol Hill, actually.)

Because if you're in the business of war...

"You need war for business!"

More later...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Attention, Readers!

Haven't posted in a few weeks - am in heavy production mode.

However...

New posts wil begin tomorrow (9/06).

Lots to cover.

Gas is back down to $3 here in Los Angeles City: Just in time for the November elections!

I look forward to the post-election excuse (terror! Iran! terror!) to bring it back up to at least $3.15.

More later...